Two Searches Wednesday a Special Holiday Bargin

img_0248-8.jpg(Gallatin County, Mont.) The night before Thanksgiving was a busy one for search and rescue in Gallatin County.   Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue responded to two simultaneously occurring back country searches.  At 7:15 pm, searchers responded to the Fairy Lake area of the northern Bridger Mountains.  A group of backcountry snowboarders had lost contact with a 22-year-old male member of their group about four hours earlier.  The reporting party was only able to contact help via text message due to very limited cell phone coverage in the area.

Then at 7:38 pm, searchers responded to a lost 35-year-old hunter in the upper Moser Creek drainage in Hyalite Canyon.  The hunter, who reported being cold and lost was able to message a friend.  The friend called for help from search and rescue.  Poor cell phone contact also hampered efforts during this search.

A winter storm and darkness created hazardous conditions for both searches.  Helicopters were unable to fly due to the weather, so ground teams responded to both search areas.

After battling almost impassable roads into the Fairy Lake area, hikers and skiers started searching in heavy snowfall.  The missing snowboarder was able to find his way out to the Fairy Lake Road a short while later and was picked up by searchers around 10:30 pm.

The hunter was able to make contact with searchers via intermittent text message.  Once he had stopped moving and built a fire, he was able to screen shot his cell phone’s compass app which showed his GPS coordinates.  He texted the screen shot to searchers.  Searches were then able to move directly to his position by foot and four-wheeler.  He was finally located around 11:27 pm.

Both lost subjects were cold but otherwise ok.  Sheriff Gootkin would like to remind everyone that even during the winter months, people enjoying the backcountry should be prepared to spend the night outdoors.  Have appropriate clothing and equipment and carry a means of communications.  Helpful hint; cold saps battery life.  Keep your phone next your body to keep the battery warm.  Let others know where you are going and when to expect you back, and it is always a good idea to enjoy backcountry snow activities in groups.


North Dakota Mutual Aid Update


There was a miscommunication between the Sheriff and the State of Montana in reference to the mutual aid agreement with North Dakota. Due to their not being a current agreement authorizing local law-enforcement to assist, and that reimbursement and liability are not covered, Sheriff Gootkin has decided to wait for Governor Bullocks decision.


North Dakota Mutual Aid Request


  As many of you are aware, there have been protests in North Dakota that have recently turned violent.  I have worked with the North Dakota Sheriffs in the past and they have requested our assistance. 

  The Montana Highway Patrol has already sent troopers there to assist.  I will be taking four Gallatin County deputies to help those Sheriffs keep the peace.  We will be there for approximately a week. 

  We are working with Montana DES and Governor Bullock for mutual aid with the state of North Dakota for reimbursement of expenses. 

  My decision has nothing to do with the politics of the situation and only to do with trying to help deescalate a volatile situation.  We are peace officers and law enforcement and I am confident that if we had a large incident occur here, they would not hesitate to help. 

  The Montana Sheriff’s and Peace Officers have sent a request to Montana Sheriffs for assistance and are coordinating sending teams from other Offices and our deployment.  Please feel free to contact me on my cell with any questions.  

 Brian M. Gootkin

Gallatin County Sheriff

615 South 16th

Bozeman, MT  59715



Annual Update on Flood Mitigation Accepted

GCEM Media Release

Release # 161101-01
Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, 582-2395

Annual Update on Flood Mitigation Accepted

Bozeman, MT – On October 27th Gallatin County’s All Hazard All Discipline Group accepted an annual update on flood mitigation work as part of the Community Rating System renewal currently underway by Gallatin County.  This update provided an overview of the progress made on flood related projects identified in the county’s Hazard Mitigation Plan which is also scheduled to be updated in 2017.  The Community Rating System requires this update to be distributed to local media.

View the annual update at: